Being a data journalist sometimes feels like living on a desert island.
On the one hand, it is sometimes a welcome respite from the daily grind of news reporting. On our island, we often get a little extra time to think about stories and the data that we can use to tell them. That’s a fresh breeze compared to most beat reporters.
But on the other hand, we sometimes feel a little isolated. We see data –and conclusions — get stretched and mashed into shapes it really shouldn’t take. We see shortcuts taken and warnings ignored, even among our fellow journalists. And sometimes we have a few ‘doh!’ moments of our own.
So this is our blog about those moments. Data that could be better, news that could be sharper, illuminations that could be illumier. It’s not a scold. It’s a place to sort out how we use data in the news media in the hopes that all journalists become more comfortable using data well. We hope to be more teachy than preachy.
To start, the USA TODAY data team will share posts: Paul Overberg, Meghan Hoyer, Chris Schnaars and MaryJo Webster. Hopefully we’ll bring in guest bloggers from our Investigative team, the Network and others from the data journalism tribe.
We hope you’ll enjoy following us, and bring us a little closer to the mainland. Now if we could just get the professor to fix that damn radio.
Jodi Upton, USA TODAY Data Team lead